tv Dateline London BBC News December 27, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm GMT
been as you can see, things have been quite hairy as you said, this morning. but perhaps traffic is beginning to ease a little bit at the moment. thank you very much. it is probably worth pointing out that a lot of children of course are still on holiday and some of them are rather enjoying it! this photograph was sent me on twitter. millie and her snowman clyde. the more you look at that snowman, the more you look at that snowman, the more it is the stuff of nightmares actually! anyway... thanks for all your photographs this morning. this get more on the weather. it will be sunny spells and showers, that was not the case first thing if you are anywhere near that weather system, that is what brought rain and snow and strong winds over the past few hours. once pulled away towards east anglia and the south—east we are left essentially with a dry and fine day, otherwise there will be a peppering showers in northern parts for what will be a pretty chilly afternoon. through the
evening and overnight, we will run into a bit of a problem to say the least with ice. we've had those showers of the melting snow and then the surface gets damp over the clearing skies there will be a widespread frost and if the surfaces and treated you might have an issue with ice. but the day itself is really rather glorious. a lot of sunshine, still a peppering of showers to be exposed part of northern scotland, the central belt, much of england and wales try and fight, but you lose across the south—west. .. —— fight, but you lose across the south—west... —— fine. now, dateline london which shaped the stories... hello and a warm welcome to dateline london. i'm jane hill. today we're taking time to reflect on 2017 as it draws to a close —
the highs and lows in europe, america and the middle east. let's find out what my guests have made of a turbulent year. with me, the british political commentator and columnist steve richards, the american writer and broadcaster jef mcallister, marc roche from france's le point magazine and also belgium's le soir, and the arab affairs qriter abdel bari atwan. welcome to you all. what a year in british politics. an election that didn't need to be called, a reduced majority for theresa may's conservative party, the rise of labour'sjeremy corbyn. and what of policy and legislation? that's on the back burner. to adapt the famous american political phrase, it's all about brexit, stupid. steve, did you think, come december, theresa may would still be prime minister? to be honest, i did. british politicaljournalism is punctuated on a daily
basis with speculation that the prime minister is about to fall and they usually stay. so i am not surprised. she is dogged and determined. i'm told that even after the election trauma, she did not contemplate going. but at the same time, that election changed everything in british politics. it was as significant as the 1979 election when margaret thatcher appeared on the scene. because even though theresa may is still on the scene, it has changed the dynamics of brexit, it has falsified the idea that a left—wing leader is due for oblivion if standing for election, challenged the assumption that young people do not vote. and it is still defining our politics many months later even though the same prime minister is in place. i started by saying this
was about british politics but what has british politics been this year, all about brexit. and that is what we have to talk about. marc, your thoughts about looking back on 2017, it took eight or nine months to get an agreement to get to phase two. 2017 has been dominated by the brexit deal in phase one. we lost nine months due to british internal politics. the whole thing came together extremely vaguely. the good thing for europe is that theresa may is still there because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. europe helps theresa may to stay in power. but i think in europe, it was a mixed year. you have bad news with the extreme right coming to power in austria, destabilising chancellor merkel,
problems in catalonia. but then the good news was that the eu stayed united on the brexit deal, the eurozone is getting out of trouble and france had president macron, a modernist and the future of europe coming to power. laughter. such equanimity, perhaps laughter suggests surprise! british politics was paralysed completely by brexit. nobody is talking about any other problems, about health, education, economic growth, the stagnation of the economy in this country. so it is amazing. brexit, brexit. the newspapers brainwashed people and diverted them from their own worries in this country. so i don't know how
things will develop. ok, many people anticipated theresa may's fall, many people did not expect her to last. she surprised everybody. the first phase of the negotiation actually went through and we are now coming to the difficult one, which is how the single market agreements could be finalised. it is extremely difficult. so i believe that britain needs a charismatic leader, a strong leader, to negotiate for the next phase because it will be crucial to reach a good deal. so, if not, i believe this country will suffer. you can see now... why britain is afraid from election? why can't we have election? there was election.
britain needs stability for a few years to get brexit through and also other things through and theresa may is the best leader, by default maybe, to do a deal in europe like she did a deal in 2017 which is a good deal because you need a soft brexit, you can't have a hard brexit and you can't have no deal. and she's the best to bring that. next week, we can discuss what might be awaiting us! jef, what do you think of an extraordinary year in britain, and brexit? i am pleased that because of the papering over of the differences in the phase one summit two years ago, everyone says ok. —— two weeks ago. but fundamentally, i have felt that this is a circle that cannot be squared.
brexit does not make sense for britain and the deal that makes britain prosperous and happy and makes everybody have their cake and eat it, does not exist. the only way that it has been able to be successful so far is that the hard issues have not beenjoined. i don't see how anywhere in europe, the kind of trade deal that britain needs to prosper can be achieved with the way that the negotiations are structured. it is going to be a car crash. i am amazed that there was not more talk about productivity and the fact that people, because they feel the cold wind of brexit, are leaving. nurses from the health service, doctors, professors, making their deals to go.
we know that? yes, it is peaking. the rate of increase of immigration to britain is decreasing and there have been lots of interesting stories done about nurses who have been here for 25 years of saying, they don't want me here, i am going home. steve, do you pick up in your circle frustration that other domestic political issues have not had much focus this year? do you pick up on people saying could westminster tackle transport or anything else? i am afraid i'm sad enough to hang around with people obsessed with brexit so i spent the whole of 2017 talking with people like that! but in 2017, brexit sucked up all political energy. in every sense. the stress and tension as they moved
the phase one agreement in that james bond movie when she flew in the middle of the night to sign it on that friday morning at the end of december. to just the logistics, our embryonic trade arrangements being looked at by people with no experience of negotiating trade deals. of working out how the regulatory framework will work post—brexit. these are massive issues and it is the case that normally at the end of the year you have looked back at the nhs, public spending, tax, all the things you talk about in british politics... yes. europe is not obsessed by brexit. we are going on with main issues like do we want a federal europe or a two—speed europe. britain is obsessed. one thing is clear, britain is going back to the blue passports! no more of the red passports! yes, we got that.
january saw the inauguration of the 45th president of the united states. the swearing—in was seen "by the largest crowd to ever watch an inauguration" — copyright sean spicer. campaign pledges fulfilled? pulling out of the paris climate accord, and tax cuts recently voted through. we've also seen the continuation of bellicose language, fake news and alternative facts. jef — trump's been in office 11 months, how's his record? i think it is so bad in some ways that it becomes... we become inured to it. he is a remarkable figure, not in a good way. these tax cuts, there are so many bad things to talk about. his most recent achievement, just voted through. like the founder of trump university, the taj mahal casino,
great promises but not very good in reality. this tax cut, there is a tax cut but 60% of the benefit goes to the top 1%. trump himself will benefit greatly from it because a lot of the provisions seem to benefit real estate trusts and things he has a personal interest in. the republican party passed it. they say bad things about him, bravely they say he goes too far or attacks people wrongly, the tweeting has to stop, but they all lined up behind him and voted for it. there is a way in which he... the fake news, that you mentioned, he has cheapened the language. it is almost orwellian. it is cheap orwellian, where you can't know what the truth is. scientists are leaving the government. the treasury department experts
on the tax bill were not allowed to speak because they would have pointed out the contradictions. and so you have get the moorings of make a democracy possible loosened by constant nastiness from him. as we have said, his core vote is still there. when the pollsters go out, they don't find people who regretted voting for trump, they say they would do it again. the economy is growing. employment is up, he has put his people in the federal bank. people vote for the economy. but it is not his legacy. it is obama's legacy.
that is irrelevant. the legacy is there. it is an inheritance but even in newjersey and alabama, voters voted against trump. he is at the lowest rating. his core supporters are unshakeable but the suburban women, the college educated, the republican moderates, are finding him offensive and who knows, but you are seeing resistance. you see muller and the press doing good reporting and the #metoo movement. does that tie into the first democratic senator in years being elected in alabama? but no impact on the core base.
the coming election in november will decide. i presume there will be a shock to president trump. when we talk about the internals, the economy is improving and unemployment is down to 4.7% instead of 10.4%. the stock exchange is also increasing and the stock market is very high. but you can't say that he achieved that in 11 months. definitely there is a groundwork for this. and foreign policy, just last wednesday, last thursday, we had a huge referendum about president trump and his foreign policy. it was a huge defeat, two thirds of the international community voted against his resolution to move the american embassy
from tel aviv to jerusalem. there was a huge disapproval of him. another challenge that he cannot handle, north korea. it is a nuclear power now. a ballistic missile power. and they managed to continue their nuclear test, their missile test and they have a huge capability to hurt their neighbours in south korea and japan. and they could reach the united states. this is a huge failure. we will talk more about that in a moment. steve, your thoughts? the core vote is always the last to move. hardline brexiteers are not going to admit that they were wrong. but he has shown the power of words. a lot of the things he said he would do, he has not done. he said he would scrap obamacare and some of the things
he said he would do, he has not been able to do. but the words themselves have provoked, incited. itjust shows, he is using the presidency in a way no one else has, as an altar. notjust measures being implemented but words uttered being enough to shake things up and in nearly always alarming ways. it is the internet age, it is trolling, it is not thoughtful and it destabilises. and the internet permits him and has made him and permits the russians to interfere in the american election and this is the technological trend that underlines the uncertainties and difficulties that we are grappling with. you have touched on things that we will pick up on next week. let's reflect a little
further on the year that is coming to an end. in particular, the middle east. in october, raqqa, the de facto capital of so called islamic state, finally fell to us—backed forces. is there finally a degree of stability in syria? and north korea conducted a series of weapons tests, including launching its longest—range missile to date. bari, you commented on this, do you have any optimism? there is a sense that after as so many years of turmoil and wars and destruction and death, we have a relatively stable syria. islamic state was defeated, it was defeated on the ground. the caliphate is nonexistent. they used to control
an area which was half of iraq and half of syria. no more. but the question is, can we celebrate? i believe it is premature. we have to wait. because those people now in transition in syria, they disappeared. physically, where are they? they are underground. we look at islamic state in syria and iraq but they have branches all over the world. they have provinces in libya and yemen and afghanistan and pakistan. still some of them are underground in iraq and syria. they could surface any time. they are more dangerous now because it is very cheap to carry out terrorism for revenge. we have to remember that september 11, the whole operation cost only about $320,000 and look at the losses which the whole
world suffered from. we have to look at three countries. libya, yemen and afghanistan. these semi—failed or failed states are candidates to be the new headquarters of the islamic state. where was the leader of islamic state, where is his cabinet? they used to have 15,000 or 20,000 sympathisers —— 50,000—100,000, and members or fighters, where are they now? where have they disappeared to? we know that america has the best surveillance
and the intelligence service. the same with the british and the french — where are these people? so the fall of raqqa is only a temporary reprieve? it is a pause. which is good news in 2017 but you are making the point that there is... it is very good news to get rid of them. very good news to defeat them. they are not as they used to be. they don't have the freedom to move and they are not controlling or having a strong base in the digital world. they are not on facebook or twitter as much as they used to be. so this is the most important thing. this is the point of their strength, to control the media, video tapes, newspapers, now it is gone. the recruitment network, they used to have a huge recruitment network, it is very weakened now. but we have to be very careful.
they can come back easily. now they want to take revenge. plan b is terrorism. they could terrorise the whole world. they are very vicious people. but the last thing, this unity from the international community, when they united together to fight this phenomenon, now i can see this unity is weakening a bit. by the us? by trump's recognition ofjerusalem as the capital of israel, it has put trump outside the unity. the only realistic way was as macron said by saving the prime minister of lebanon from being a prisoner and keeping lebanon, this fragile country. but it is very gloomy for the middle east.
we end this year with more stability? yes, destruction but at least syria is now stable. the real unstable thing is lebanon and israel and palestine where things have got worse. it is not only syria which is stable now. relatively stable. it is the whole region. iraq is stable again. syria and iraq are coming back. also the stability of syria is good for immigration because many people, many syrian people, will go back because syria is a rich country and the people of syria are hard—working. it is devastated at the moment, the infrastructure is devastated, but the point is that there will be those who want to return? there will be reconstruction
in syria and iraq. this will attract a lot of capital, a lot of skilled people. it will attract a lot of immigrants. yemen, in egypt, in lebanon, it is very piecemeal. a chequered situation. we are talking about syria and iraq but yemen is important, there is a forgotten war there for the last three years and the west is not paying attention to the destruction of yemen. about! million people facing an epidemic of cholera and 17 million people in yemen facing starvation. britain stayed out because of the saudis. the saudis were bombing them. the saudis could not win this war for the last three years and the international community should intervene and put an end to this war. borisjohnson said it is illegal to keep the sanctions on yemen because people are starving.
donald trump's relationship with the yemen is nonexistent. there will be nothing done. it is interesting to me, the idea that the saudis can modernise is attractive to outsiders. i don't know whether it is possible. one wonders because it is a complex system, whether the leader can keep all the strings which he has now pulled, in control. i completely agree with you, he is modernising the country, the leader of saudi. he is dismantling a radical sect of islam which used to control the country and promote radicalism. most of al-qaeda and islamic state, their ideology was from
wahabism. secondly, he is also modernising like allowing women to drive. he is opening up the country to tourism. but the problem is that he is involved in this war in yemen. and he is also giving trump a lot of money. $460 million which created a lot ofjobs for the americans. —— billion. but not for middle east and not for saudis. modernising yes, but bad policy as well. i want to mention iran. steve, do you have thoughts on the year that has gone? not really. i would like to look back and say that the questions that have dominated the politics of the middle east in 2017, like how
do you deal with a stateless institution like isis? you can get rid of them in raqqa but you don't get rid of them altogether. and the pertinent questions remain the same at the end of the year. though trump is a calamitous figure to be a mediating figure, those questions were raised in 2011, 2013 to 2016 under blair, bush and obama and nobody has found adequate answers to them yet. that seems to be the sort of issue that will be framing the next year as well. thank you very much to all of you. we could talk a lot longer. that's all for this week, though not this year — do join us at the same time next week when we'll consider what 2018 may have in store. for now, if you're celebrating christmas, do enjoy the festive season. thanks for watching, goodbye. hello once again.
it is going to be an afternoon, for many parts of the british isles, of sunny spells and showers. that obviously was not the case first thing if you were anywhere near that weather system. that is what brought the rain and snow and strong winds across southern britain over the past few hours. but once that pulls away towards east anglia and the south east, we are left, essentially, with a dry, fine day, although there will be a peppering of showers across northern and western parts, on what is going to be a pretty chilly afternoon. through the evening and overnight, we will have a problem, to say the very least, with ice where you have had those showers or the melting snow, and then the surfaces get damp. underneath the clearing skies, there will be widespread frost
and if the surfaces are not treated on thursday morning, you may well have a bit of an issue with ice. but the day itself — really rather glorious. lot of sunshine around. still that peppering of showers across the exposed parts of northern scotland, but the central belt, much of england and wales are dry and fine, although you lose your sunshine across the south west to finish the day. this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at midday. motorists are being warned of dangerous driving conditions because of snow and ice. this is the scene live at the junction of the m1 and m6 in leicestershire, earlier highways england reported "severe conditions" when there was an accident involving a lorry. there are delays at stansted airport after snow on the runway caused all flights to be suspended for several hours. and 111,000 properties are without electricity, mostly in the midlands and wales. prince harry sets out how he views his role as a senior royal. while guest editing for the bbc‘s